Conquer Seasonal Allergies

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Conquer Seasonal Allergies

Distance yourself from ragweed
Minimizing your exposure to pollen is your first and simplest line of defense. Here’s how:

CHECK THE COUNT When the pollen level is high, it’s best to stay indoors, says allergist Andy Nish, M.D., of the Allergy and Asthma Care Center in Gainesville, Ga. Learn the pollen count by checking your local TV weather report or newspaper. Or go to Pollen.com and type in your ZIP code for a four-day forecast. Bonus: You can sign up for allergy alert emails or download a smartphone app that will notify you when the pollen count is on the rise.

WATCH THE WEATHER AND THE CLOCK “Pollen levels are typically higher on sunny, dry and windy days and lower on cooler, moist and windless days,” Bassett says. Many grasses and other plants pollinate early in the day, making mornings (particularly between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.) notoriously problematic for allergy sufferers. So wait until the late afternoon or early evening to take your dog for a long walk.

WORK OUT INDOORS Exercise can often help alleviate nasal congestion so you can breathe better—unless you’re outside sucking in pollen, says Bassett. Whenever possible, stick to indoor workouts, especially when the pollen count outdoors is moderate to high.

FLUSH OUT THE POLLEN Research shows that using a neti pot to rinse allergens out of your nasal passages can ease congestion and sinus pressure. Elana Gelman, N.D., a naturopathic doctor at the University of Bridgeport Naturopathic Medicine Clinic in Connecticut, recommends filling the device with 8 ounces of warm purified (distilled or deionized) water mixed with 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Or buy a neti pot that comes with premixed saline. (Never use tap water; doing so was recently associated with a few fatal brain infections in Louisiana.) For best results, use it in the morning and again just before bed, Gelman suggests.